Keeping things simple: Health and safety for the small housing provider
Health and safety is an important but complicated obligation for non-profit housing providers. For smaller providers, especially those with under five staff, it’s essential to keep health and safety processes simple. Read on for tips and strategies on meeting your obligations in a responsible but manageable way.
Developing clear policies and simple procedures can help you set a manageable foundation. This could include things like setting up building inspections at regular intervals, and committing to taking simple but consistent notes to demonstrate that legal obligations are being met.
Starting with the day-to-day
One of the most effective ways to ensure you’re meeting your obligations is to work health and safety into everyday operations. For instance, each staff member can make a point of looking for and reporting potential hazards as part of their daily work. Property managers and supervisors can observe staff at work and use these as ‘teaching moments.’
Health and safety ‘wins’
Post a health and safety policy statement: Though not required for workplaces with under five staff, a simple, board-signed, one-page health and safety policy statement sends a signal to staff and inspectors that health and safety is being taken seriously.
The policy statement should be posted in a visible, high-traffic area of the workplace and should include:
- a commitment to health and safety
- overall expectations, goals and objectives of the health and safety program
- a commitment to comply with relevant legislation
- an outline of responsibilities for the housing provider and all employees
Develop a health and safety program: A health and safety program is a ‘plan of action’ to protect health and safety in the workplace. It can be kept simple and clear, and can address things like:
- new employee orientation
- employee training (e.g. WHMIS, new job procedures)
- medical and first aid procedures
- workplace inspections, hazard analysis and follow‐up procedures
- hazard reporting procedures
- accident reporting procedures
- accident investigation procedures
- A way to address employee concerns
These are some of the ways smaller providers can set strong foundations for health and safety in the workplace.
Interested in more tips and strategies?
Be on the lookout for ONPHA’s Health and Safety Guide, geared specifically to non-profit housing providers, which will be available in the ONPHA Store later in 2016.